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Looking for Signs of Dust For Life
By Jim Wormington

The music industry is a harsh mistress. Narrow is the way to lasting success and very few artists find it.

Founding member of Dust For Life, Jason Hughes, has hiked that precarious path and made it farther than most.

In the summer of 2000, DFL was opening up for Creed. That fall they were on tour with 3 Doors Down, Nickelback and Cold. They went on to do shows with Linkin Park, Lifehouse, Fuel, Stone Temple Pilots and Tenacious D. The band performed before as many as 30,000 and their debut CD ultimately sold nearly 150,000 copies.

To put that into perspective Jason points out that, “There are 13,000 new releases every single year. Of those releases, only 5% sell more than 5,000 copies.”

What is it like to be ascending the gilded stairway to rock stardom?

“Incredible for sure,” says Jason. “I dreamed of playing music professionally from the age of twelve on. I got the chance at thirty.” That time was “a daze of happiness” for him during which he shot forty-five rolls of film. “I knew I was going down a road I may never see again and one that no one would believe if I didn't document it.”

“I felt like being there was a direct blessing from God and an answered prayer,” Jason adds.

But is it hard to live your faith when the world is glittering so brightly before you?

“A few times I had the chance to witness in magazine articles and in person. Like Simon Peter before me, I denied my faith or skirted the question. I'm embarrassed by that and have asked for forgiveness. You should always pay allegiance publicly to the Creator who is responsible for everything you have.”

It’s hard to avoid getting caught up in the world’s grip when all its glories are spread out for the taking. Both the struggle and the hope of this inner war are captured in this DFL lyric excerpt from the song “Step Into the Light”:

In this place I'm a soul so hollow 
In this mud with the pigs I wallow…

Sell me cheaply at the river's edge 
Darkness grows around my heart… 
I'll wait to see how this will end 
Then I'll step into the light… 
To find I'm not alone

DFL’s rock ride ended after some ugly business with the folks managing them. Money mishandled. Deception. A familiar story. They stopped touring and ended their bad business arrangements.

Still, this is a band that shouldn’t be missed. 

There are subtle and not-so-subtle spiritual references throughout DFL’s lyrics. Their two CD s (Dust For Life and Degrees of Black) are solid, hard-rocking albums reminiscent of Alice in Chains with plenty of sharp and defining edges that make them distinctive. 

While Jason Hughes is open about his belief, DFL is not a Christian band. There is some profanity here and there. Considering the toxic swamp that is secular rock music, though, they stand out as being sometimes inspirational and always thoughtful.

If you are willing to go to a little trouble to get hold of some great contemporary rock music, you’ll find the reward worth the effort.

Both of their albums--new and used copies--can be found on

DFL have a website that makes available a bunch of free music downloads, including some really strong unreleased cuts. It’s a spot worth surfing to just for that.

Give them a listen. You can purchase “Degrees of Black” from the site. The self-titled debut CD is still available through stores like Best Buy (though you may have to order it).

What’s in the future for DFL?

“Chris (Gavin) and I are the main writers and we both have enough songs to record a new DFL CD by ourselves,” Jason says. Josh Weil, DFL’s original bass player, rejoined in 2001 and has stayed with Jason and Chris. John Anderson is signed on to play drums (he played on “Degrees of Black”). There are tentative plans to get together in the summer of 2006 to record and put out a new CD independently.

Here’s hoping they do.

And, hey Jason, step into the light, brother. 


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